Twitter vs. TechCrunch: Stolen is not news worthy – its just GOSSIP

16 Jul

I am still in awe that there is even that much controversy about TechCrunch publishing stolen internal documents from Twitter, a privately held COMMERCIAL company. Michael Arrington even has the gall to try and justify TechCrunch

Many users say this is “stolen” information and therefore shouldn’t be published. We disagree… We publish confidential information almost every day on TechCrunch. This is stuff that is also “stolen,” usually leaked by an employee or someone else close to the company, and the company is very much opposed to its publication. In the past we’ve received comments that this is unethical. And it certainly was unethical, or at least illegal or tortious, for the person who gave us the information and violated confidentiality and/or nondisclosure agreements. But on our end, it’s simply news.

It’s simply news. Really? Is it going to stop a corrupt politician? Or a war? Or some other real social cause? Or is it simply going to cause harm to Twitter? It’s like the crappy gossip magazines who go through celebrities’ garbage cans and find pregnancy tests  (although in that case they’re not technically stealing).  This is just gossip. Plain Jane gossip.  And mean-spirited, unethical at best.

Are we reduced to thinking that something is right, just because you CAN do it, and people WANT you to do it? Think of how you would explain this to your 5 year old:

Stealing is wrong. Except, of course, if you are stealing something that is really, really, interesting and lots of people want to see it. Then don’t call it stealing, call it news. Got it?

For the record I also don’t condone publications that publish stolen pictures of prototypes or anything else stolen for that matter. Doesn’t anyone care about right and wrong, or is it all about instant gratification?

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One Response to “Twitter vs. TechCrunch: Stolen is not news worthy – its just GOSSIP”

  1. Gen July 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    I agree with you. For so many, it is about bending whatever is bendable in pursuit of a justification. Too few, when confronted with the choice between legal-but-unethical gain, and ethical behavior without gain, choose the former.

    This topic actually came up during the Sonia Sotomayor nomination hearings this week, when Judge Sotomayor reminded the senator who was questioning her that just because the law allows one to do certain things doesn’t mean one necessarily *should* do them. She was clear on her opinion that although one *may* do many unethical things, one *shouldn’t*.

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